Meretin Anastasiia (Ukraine), Aviation Management student

You are from Kyiv area, far away from Ukrainian – Polish border. How did you get to come to us?

I knew that I wouldn’t study in Ukraine because I’ve never wanted it. I was thinking about studying in USA, but many hours of discussions with my family, I rejected this option. That’s why I started to make new plans, so I was looking for a university, where you can study an aviation. I didn’t find one, so I started to think about English philology in Poznan or Gdansk. Accidentally, I found an Aviation Management programme offered by UITM. It was a quick decision.

A very sudden change of plans – from philology to aviation…

Yes, but it was due to the fact that I just didn’t know that there was such a specialty. I’ve always had the desire to connect my career life with aviation because my dad is a pilot. He often told me about his work and experience, so it fascinated me. I remember me being a small kid and my dad didn’t tell me fairy tales before bedtime – he explained me how atomic bombs work, told me stories about war or aircraft engines construction.

You took up studies and immediately won the prestigious School of Leaders scholarship offered by our university to the best and most active students. Dad is probably very proud of you…

He certainly is. I did not give myself great hopes, but until someone doesn’t try, he will not succeed. To apply for this scholarship, you need to fulfil a lot of documents, not to mention good grades. I admit, I doubted whether I will be qualified at all, there is a lot of competition.

When you found out that you were granted this scholarship, did the confidence go up?

Of course. I remember talking to my parents on the day of results announcement. I checked the mailbox at the beginning of the conversation – empty. At the end of the conversation, my mother convinced me to check the mail again, because maybe there is some information. That’s what happened. “Congratulations! You received the scholarship. ” The parents were very happy.

So do you already have a feeling of belonging to this elite part of the university students?

I do. But at the same time I feel pressure, because it is difficult to earn points and learn well at the same time. I joined many scientific clubs, which increased the number of duties, but it did not reduce the motivation. Other students who have become participants in the SoL programme are a great support. We meet, share impressions and experience. This is another plus of being among the leaders.

Sagnayeva Zhanel (Kazakhstan), International Management student

You chose Poland and International Management. How are such important life decisions made?

As I was in Kazakhstan, in the eighth grade I knew that I wanted to try my strength abroad. Then I started to look for options for the future. In the eleventh grade, one of my colleagues decided to study in Poland and he recommended it to me. I went to a representative of UITM in Astana to find out more details. My parents liked the university very much, we calculated that a trip to Rzeszów to study is possible from a financial point of view and we made a decision. Everything was thought out, it was not an impulse.

You’ve decided to study International Management, why so?

It is quite a broad specialty. It is difficult at the young age to specify exactly what you want to do in the future, who you want to be, so I chose a specialty that opens up many possibilities. After such studies, you can try strength in any industry, and above all you can choose a more specific specialy while doing a Master’s degree.

And how do you feel in Rzeszow? You’ve come from Astana, a huge city, is Rzeszow not too small for you?

The fact that Rzeszow is a small town attracted me here. For each parent, security was very important, and Rzeszow is a safe city, there are no threats like in big cities. This is a typical student city, clean and nice, and besides, many students from Kazakhstan study here, which is a significant factor.

What do you think about Poland and Poles?

It is difficult to judge. There is a language barrier and we cannot always communicate enough to get to know each other. My general observation is that Poles are good, willing to help, friendly. Without even understanding us, it is evident that they want to help. I accept the principle that if you are in another country, try to do what is accepted here. If a man is open to another culture – it is not difficult.

In the first year of study, you have achieved a lot, you have been awarded the best scholarship, School of Leaders. This is a very good start…

At the beginning of my educational path at UITM, I received an award for the IQ test. I did not want to lose it, so I started looking for an option to extend the scholarship. SoL is a novelty at the university, many students wanted to receive it. It was obvious that it would not be easy. I must admit that I did not really believe that I would be qualified. And then came the exciting moment, the message about the result.

What did you do first, when you found out you had the scholarship?

I immediately called my parents. I remember my dad telling me that he had no doubts that I would get a scholarship and that was why he was not worried at all.

School from Leaders is not the only opportunity to study for free, but also a great motivator for activity.

Of course, the important thing is that I can study for free, but that’s not all. First of all, we meet interesting, inspiring people, students of UITM who came here from different parts of the world. I look at them and understand that I have to grow and try something new all the time. In order to maintain the scholarship, you have to be active, it is not a one-time effort. I am modelling myself on others, we all have to work a lot, sometimes it is onerous and sometimes very inspiring. This is a challenge.

You are already experienced in this matter, do you have any advice for students who will face the same challenge next year?

It is a program for first-year students, which is why activity in the first semester counts. You must do something. Yes, I know that as soon as you come to a foreign country, it is difficult. But later it will pay off. It is worth to look for interesting activities, ask all the time what is going on at the university, drill down, take part. And most importantly – do not be afraid of anything!

Interviews conducted by Natalia Filimoniuk.